The Girl from the Fiction Department
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The Girl from the Fiction Department : A Portrait of Sonia Orwell

3.45 (61 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

Absorbing and provocative, a biography of George Orwell's controversial second wife from the Whitbread Prize-winning author of Matisse the Master and Anthony PowellJust three months before his death, the author of Nineteen Eighty-Four took a new wife. Sonia Brownell was model for Julia in Orwell's most famous novel, she was fifteen years younger than her husband, and after his death she was hounded and pilloried as a manipulative gold-digger who would stop at nothing to keep control of the literary legacy. But the truth about Sonia was altogether different.Beautiful, intelligent and fiercely idealistic, she lived at the heart of London's literary and artistic scene before her marriage to Orwell changed her life for ever. Those who knew her - Lucien Freud and Francis Bacon, Jean-Paul Sartre and Albert Camus - witnessed her great personal generosity. And yet, burdened with the almost impossible task of protecting Orwell's intellectual estate, Sonia's loyalty to her late husband brought her nothing but poverty and despair.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 208 pages
  • 128 x 192 x 14mm | 158.76g
  • Penguin Books Ltd
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • b&w illustrations
  • 0141008172
  • 9780141008172
  • 589,043

Review quote

'Should be compulsory reading' The Times
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About Hilary Spurling

Hilary Spurling is the author of numerous biographies, including Ivy When Young: The Early Life of Ivy Compton-Burnett 1884-1919; Paul Scott: A Life; a two-volume biography of Matisse, The Unknown Matisse and Matisse the Master (also published in the abridged single-volume Matisse: The Life); and Burying the Bones. She won the Rose Mary Crawshay Prize and the Duff Cooper Prize for Ivy When Young, the Whitbread Book of the Year Award for Matisse the Master, and the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for Burying the Bones. She grew up in Bristol and studied at the University of Oxford. From 1964 to 1970 she was Theatre Critic and Literary Editor of the Spectator, and since then she has been a regular book reviewer for the Observer and the Daily Telegraph. In 2016 she won the Biographers' Club Lifetime Achievement Award.
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Rating details

61 ratings
3.45 out of 5 stars
5 20% (12)
4 26% (16)
3 39% (24)
2 10% (6)
1 5% (3)
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